Coca-Cola understands brand awareness. They spent an estimated $2.9 billion in global advertising during 2010. The vast majority of media dollars spent by Coca-Cola goes to branding campaigns that strive to reinforce customer affinity and create a “feeling” that resonates with their target audience, which is as varied as the more than 200 countries that sell Coca-Cola. These brand awareness ads keep Coca-Cola top of mind with thirsty consumers by equating the product with a good time. The media must be working—94 percent of people across the globe recognize the Coca-Cola logo. For many advertisers, the money it would cost to produce the sustained reach and frequency needed to achieve a “Coca-Cola” level of brand awareness and recall is just not in the cards. Delivering a strong ROI is at the center of everything we do here at Planit. Clients rely on our strategy team to develop clear, measurable goals and implement a plan that shows positive trending and efficient use of the paid media tactics budget—especially in digital advertising. Branded paid search terms, email marketing, and re-targeting banner ads are great ways to capitalize on the “low-hanging fruit” of converting people who are already familiar with your company or product(s). While this typically garners a fantastic Return On Ad Spend (ROAS), this usually is done at the expense of growth and sales volume. This is where filling the funnel comes in. Focusing on the bottom of the funnel will mean that you spend a little to get a big return in sales/revenue. Sometimes scoring a quick win is the right starting point to prove immediate value, but in the long run this approach will always reach a point of diminishing returns. That’s why driving qualified traffic via brand awareness campaigns is a crucial component to growing business and increasing sales volume, leads, and any other measured goal of online and offline marketing programs. Without running a brand awareness campaign that focuses on filling the top of the funnel with potential new customers, increasing the volume at the bottom of the funnel is futile. In my experience, the best approach to filling the top of the funnel through digital advertising is the right combination of non-branded search terms, Facebook ads, video ads, endemic site buys, as well as other forms of display buys (behavioral and look-alike modeling). The perfect digital media mix allows you to test, optimize, and refine your brand awareness campaigns to see what messaging, placements, and ad sizes best resonate with your target audience. This is where measurements like click-through rate (CTR) and completed views become important ways to determine success, but using a path-to-conversion methodology is the best way to assign attribution to your digital media partners and better understand the role they play in brand lift and driving conversions for your company.